Jonathan Dolgen has been named president of Columbia Pictures’ film division, a newly created position that will give him broad powers in studio operations.
Dolgen’s appointment had been rumored for several weeks. For the past five years, he has been a top executive at 20th Century Fox, most recently as president of parent Fox Inc. and chairman of Twentieth Television.
As the second-highest-ranked corporate executive at Fox, Dolgen was responsible for the studio’s network TV production unit, program syndication, pay TV and a joint home video company with CBS Inc.
At Columbia, Dolgen will report to Frank Price, chairman of the film unit, but also to Price’s bosses, Columbia Pictures Entertainment Inc. Co-Chairmen Peter Guber and Jon Peters, “on a number of other corporate responsibilities.”
How Dolgen fits into the expanding corporate layers at Columbia is still unclear. Although he is officially limited to the motion picture side of the studio, Dolgen’s background is entirely in the television and home video business, and he may have a role in Columbia’s huge TV operations as well.
Dolgen said he will “be involved in all aspects” of Columbia Pictures, which is scheduled to release 17 films this year. He said his appointment does not undercut Price. “I’ve worked for Frank for a long time. He’s a proponent of the team approach.”
Known as a tough negotiator who occasionally has been known to rattle both his competitors and colleagues, Dolgen’s experience has been in the business side of entertainment rather than the so-called creative area.
Dolgen is the latest recruit to join Columbia since Sony Corp., which acquired the studio last year, installed the Guber-Peters management team in November. Alan Levine, a well-known entertainment lawyer, had been brought aboard as chief operating officer at Columbia, and earlier this year Frank Price was brought back as chairman of Columbia Pictures.
This is Dolgen’s second stint at Columbia. He spent nine years at the studio in the late 1970s and early ‘80s in senior positions, including president of domestic operations and head of its pay-TV division.